Oral Health Knowledge, Practices and Attitude among Parents/Caretakers of Children with Heart Disease on Follow up at Tikur Anbessa Hospital
Back ground: Infective endocarditis is one of the most dreaded complications of structural heart disease. Poor oral hygiene has been implicated in the predisposition to infective endocarditis. The objective of this study is to assess the knowledge and practice of oral hygiene among parents of children with heart disease.
Method: A cross sectional study using examiner administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on the oral health knowledge and practice of parents/caregivers of children with heart disease attending the pediatric cardiology clinic at Tikur Anbessa specialized Hospital. The study was conducted from April 1 to August 15, 2014.
Results: A total of 384 caretakers of children participated in the study. About two-third (255) of the caretakers were informed on the importance of oral hygiene. Even though majority of the participants 317(82.6%) were aware about the benefits of tooth brushing, only 108(28.1%) reported using tooth brush and paste. The reason for not brushing teeth among the majority of caretakers (198, 71.7%) was that they did not think it was necessary. Lack of availability was mentioned by 53(19.2%) caretakers and unaffordability was mentioned by15 (5.4%). Caretakersâ€™ knowledge on dental carries was also unsatisfactory. The role of the caretakers in the supervision of their childrenâ€™s oral hygiene was also poor with only 19(4.9%) caretakers reportedly brushing their childrenâ€™s teeth and 126(32.8%) watching and advising while the rest reportedly never cared, 89 (23.2%), or only gave advice but never watched, 150 (39.1%).
Conclusion: This study has shown that the knowledge, attitude and practice of caretakers of children with heart disease on dental care to be poor. Many participants were not informed on the importance of oral hygiene on the prevention of infective endocarditis. Thus educating caretakers on the importance of regular tooth brushing habit, oral hygiene and regular preventive dental visit to reduce the risk of complication of the cardiac condition is recommended. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2018; 32(2):82-87]
Key words: oral health, children, heart disease.